themighty logo

The Song I'm Asking One Direction to Write on World Down Syndrome Day

Dear Harry, Niall, Liam and Louis,

Today is March 21. For most people it may be an ordinary day. But for our special family and thousands of others around the world, this day marks an extraordinary day of celebration. It’s World Down Syndrome Day! It’s held on March 21 because individuals with Down syndrome have three copies of their 21st chromosome. It’s about spreading awareness in being different and unique. It’s about showing the hope and beauty behind the everyday challenges kids and adults with Down syndrome face.

I’m not a spokesperson for any organization. I’m just an old-timer 35-year-old mom and a huge fan (with two fan daughters and my 3-month-old is definitely going to be soon!). I wanted to ask a heartfelt favor. Please consider writing a song dedicated to celebrating people who are different and special, whether it’s Down syndrome or any other need.

Mother with daughter with Down syndrome I’m more than a mom, you see. Four years ago I took on a secondary role of being an advocate (a.k.a. “Wolf Mom”) for my daughter when she was born with Down syndrome. Please make my job easier as I raise her. The comfort of your beautiful voices and words would compare to the most powerful and picturesque book in the world!

The “story of my life” has had many challenging days. I never thought the word “celebration” and Down syndrome could be uttered in the same sentence after we learned of our daughter Jayda’s diagnosis. Would she be successful in this world? Will she be treated fairly? What can we do to make her better, even the best, in her life? I’m trying to answer those questions every day.

I want to share this story with you. Words are so powerful — both hopeful and hurtful. Last week I experienced a traumatic event. It would be the first and hopefully the last instance where someone showed cruelty towards my daughter. As she was twirling and tapping in her dance class, an 11-year-old boy blurted, “She should get brain surgery!” My heart sank, and I shrunk in stature. I decided to confront the boy and his father. I couldn’t let go of what I heard. I owed it to my lovely daughter and myself. But after only a few words, I began to sob uncontrollably.

My daughter, the one who supposedly needs brain surgery, ran across the room to console and hug me, asking me if I was OK as I wept away. She knew her mommy was hurt.

I have never been the same since. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason: my daughter’s diagnosis, the dance class disaster — all meant to be. I chose to be empowered by it, though.

Now I’m asking for your help with being an agent of hope for others. Your songs are uplifting during challenging times. They reach millions of young people at a delicate age, an age where they can be deliberately mean. Bullying is at an all-time high and can have destructive consequences if not prevented. I learned the hard way as a child about being bullied. Now my 4-year-old is facing it early on.

Writing a special song dedicated to all of those who struggle or have difficulties may not be latest trend, fashionable or fun to talk about. But then again, your band is unique ,and you start the trends.

Having a disability like Down syndrome may be hard at times, but there is hope when there’s love and acceptance. Having a disability is part of the real world. Some people aren’t exposed or sensitive to this. I know One Direction writes songs that reflect reality. Our family faces reality every day.

Your message of love and tolerance would surely resonate more than this sobbing mom could ever do.

Thank you for listening to me.

Love and Peace,

Lara Suleiman

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.